The Internet and Manufacturer Warranties??

We all use the internet to buy things.  We usually do it for things that are commodities.  However, when it comes to copiers/MFPs keep in mind that buying a commercial grade copier/MFP on the internet will not have the manufacturer warranty and here’s why.  Commercial grade copiers/warranties need onsite service by factory trained technicians.  There is usually a rather complicated paperwork procedure involved for warranty service because the manufacturer is providing free parts which can be expensive.  In an extreme case, they will replace the unit.  The manufacturer tracks everything by the serial number of the copier/MFP so they know where it was purchased;  ‘gray market’ or authorized dealer.

Internet sellers that sell the commercial grade copier/MFPs say to contact a local dealer in your town for service.  What the internet seller doesn’t tell you is that the manufacturer tracks warranty service with the serial number of the copier/MFP.  Which means they know if it was purchased or leased by an authorized dealer or thru the ‘gray market’ on the internet.  In other words, a local authorized dealer can’t provide warranty service if you bought it from some company on the internet.

The other important thing you don’t get is free firmware updates when you buy off the internet.  If you buy or lease from a local authorized dealer you will have access to the manufacturer firmware updates.  In today’s connected environment this is critical.  So many printing and scanning problems can be fixed by a firmware update.  That is because of the constant stream of new operating systems from Apple and Microsoft and security updates from companies such as Google with Gmail.

What happens in real life is that the savings from an internet purchase quickly gets eaten up because the local company who didn’t get the sale will charge for all these things that would have been free if you bought from them.  Because the machine is tracked by the serial number the manufacturer knows who sold it.  Local dealers who are authorized don’t want to take the risk of violating their dealer agreements by supporting the ‘gray market’.  They could even lose their dealership.

Often times you can get a similar price from the local dealer.  For example, we typically sell or lease copiers/MFPs for about 50% of MFP.  Plus there’s no ‘hanky panky’.  A customer once bought a color copier on the internet which came with a free set of toners from the manufacturer.  However, the internet company charged the customer $450 for the free toners assuming they wouldn’t know any better.  The customer also had to pay for delivery and IT installation which is something we and most dealers do for free.  So in the long run, they didn’t save any money.  Plus, they didn’t know they were buying a discontinued model which was why the price was attractive.